As the forty-year dominion of the right begins to fade, however fitfully, writers like Sam Tanenhaus, Andrew Sullivan, Jeffrey Hart, Sidney Blumenthal, and John Dean have claimed that conservatism went into decline when Palin, or Bush, or Reagan, or Goldwater, or Buckley, or someone took it off the rails. Originally, the argument goes, conservatism was a responsible discipline of the governing classes, but somewhere between Joseph de Maistre and Joe the Plumber, it got carried away with itself. It became adventurous, fanatical, populist, ideological. What this story of decline--and you see it on the Right as well as the Left--overlooks is that all of these supposed vices of contemporary conservatism were present at the beginning, in the writings of Burke and Maistre, only they weren’t viewed as vices. They were seen as virtues. Conservatism has always been a wilder and more extravagant movement than many realize--and it is precisely this wildness and extravagance that has been one of the sources of its continuing appeal.Good stuff.
... Kevin Drum's little article on the Tea Party as just what always happens when Democrats win the White House is along similar lines as Robin's essay.